SYDNEY – The Australian man charged with the supremacist massacre in mid-March in New Zealand was accused in 2016 for issuing a death threat on Facebook and police advised the then victim to block him on the social network, Australia’s national network ABC reported on Wednesday.
The ABC published a screenshot of the conversation from Aug. 2016 between Brenton Tarrant and a man from the city of Melbourne, who does not want to be identified, in which the alleged perpetrator of the attack, which caused 50 deaths in two New Zealand mosques, told him: “I hope you one day see the light and if you are a Marxist I hope you one day meet the rope.”
The phrase refers to a white supremacist novel that has inspired hate crimes and terrorist acts and alludes to the public execution of “race traitors” such as professors, lawyers and journalists, according to the ABC.
The threat, in which Tarrant said, “choose your words carefully” and “think of who you insult” came after his interlocutor criticized a former leader of the United Patriots Front (UPF) ahead of a protest against refugees organized by this group in the city of Melbourne.
“When you speak against the UPF you speak against my right to a home for my people and my culture,” Tarrant said in that Facebook message, adding “This marks you.”
The man reported the incident in September 2016 to a police station in Melbourne, but, according to his version, he was recommended that he block the 28-year-old former physical trainer on social networks and police didn’t take an official statement from him.
Victoria Police told ABC that based on the information provided it has not been able to locate the alleged complaint, although it assured “that we have strong arrangements in place for monitoring and tracking people who pose a threat to the community.”
The alleged victim of Tarrant’s threat said he felt shocked and guilty knowing that he was the author of the supremacist attack in the city of Christchurch, which killed 50 people and injured as many.
“But at the time I thought I was the only one in danger,” he admitted.
Tarrant, who is awaiting trial on 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder, had no police record, but after the attack it became known that he traveled to several countries in Asia and Europe and even donated to an Austrian supremacist group last year.
The Australian, who broadcast the attack for 17 minutes live and published his extremist ideas on social networks, identified his targets two days earlier and even released a photograph of the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, which he attacked along with the Linwood Mosque.
A New Zealand royal commission has been tasked to investigate the context of the attack, including the attacker’s background, the role of social networks and the role of its intelligence and security agencies, which have been criticized for failing to prevent the massacre or monitor white supremacists.